Knoxville woman sues CVS claiming a pharmacist's mistake almost

Knoxville woman sues CVS claiming a pharmacist's mistake almost killed her

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“After I took the first pill, by the next day, I felt really bad. I was so weak. I could hardly walk and I was completely dehydrated,” said Georgia Shipley. “After I took the first pill, by the next day, I felt really bad. I was so weak. I could hardly walk and I was completely dehydrated,” said Georgia Shipley.
According to the lawsuit, she went to the CVS pharmacy at 2800 N. Broadway in Knoxville in April 2013 to refill her blood pressure medication. After taking the pills she was given, she became ill. According to the lawsuit, she went to the CVS pharmacy at 2800 N. Broadway in Knoxville in April 2013 to refill her blood pressure medication. After taking the pills she was given, she became ill.
By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A 77-year-old Knoxville woman wants to warn you to check your medications before you take them. This is after she says a mistake at a CVS almost killed her.

She's suing the drugstore chain asking for $2.5 million and sharing her experience in hopes of helping protect others.

The woman has been going to the same CVS pharmacy in Knoxville for 20 years. She says she trusted that the correct pills would be in the prescription bottle, but after being sick and going to the emergency room, she says she did her own research and discovered a mistake had been made.

Now she's taking legal action against the business.

Web extra: Read the full legal complaint [PDF]

I just never dreamed anything like this could happen,” said Georgia Shipley.

Georgia Shipley, 77, says it was her worst nightmare. She has high blood pressure and takes medicine twice a day. According to the lawsuit, she went to the CVS pharmacy at 2800 N. Broadway in Knoxville in April 2013 to refill her blood pressure medication. After taking the pills she was given, she became ill.

“After I took the first pill, by the next day, I felt really bad. I was so weak. I could hardly walk and I was completely dehydrated,” said Shipley.

According to court and medical records obtained by 6 News, Shipley went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with acute kidney failure. When she returned home, she continued to take what she thought was her blood pressure medication. She felt ill again and took a closer look at the medication.

“About half of the pills, some of them were a little bit bigger than the others. Some had an imprint on the pill that was not the same as was on the label on the bottle,” said Shipley.

She knew something was wrong so went online to do more research.

“I got on my computer and I went into Physicians’ Desk Reference,” said Shipley.

Shipley discovered the pills were different. Some of the pills in the bottle were her correct blood pressure medication. The others were a diuretic, a drug that flushes fluid from the body. She should never take that type of medication with her history of kidney disease.

“I knew that I should not have been taking those pills,” said Shipley.

According to court and medical records, she went to see her doctor and showed him the pills.

"The doctor was afraid at first that this had given me further kidney damage and he told me, he said, 'This could have killed you,'" said Shipley.

She went to the pharmacy and told them about the mistake. Court records state the pharmacist apologized and tried to take back the pills. According to medical records, her doctor received a call from the pharmacy explaining the wrong medication was pulled from the shelf.

“The manufacturer's pills were stored on the same shelf in their pharmacy, and that she had filled part of the prescription and ran out and reached up on the shelf to get some more and got the wrong medication,” said Shipley.

The lawsuit seeks up to $2.5 million in damages against CVS, alleging the store failed to have an adequate number of pharmacists on duty, failed to properly supervise the employees and failed to have adequate safe guards in place to prevent the incorrect handling of medication.

Shipley hopes the mistake isn't repeated and others are reminded to not take the pills in a prescription bottle without checking first.

“Always check your medications carefully,” said Shipley.

Shipley fears if she would have died from kidney issues caused by taking the incorrect medicine her family wouldn't have thought to check the pills because the drugs would have just worsened a condition she currently has.

She again encourages everyone to double check all pills in the prescription bottles.

A CVS spokesperson sent a response to 6 News late Friday afternoon stating: “The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority and we have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure patient safety. As we have not been served with the lawsuit in question, we are unable to comment.” 

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